The letter was written by Robert Stokely about his son Sgt. Mike Stokely, who was killed in Iraq last year.
David at The Thunder Run has been corresponding with Robert Stokely and has written a beautiful post today called Conversations with a Gold Star Father:
Unlike a more famous Gold Star Mother, Mr. Stokely doesn’t blame anyone for Mike’s death for he is “...firmly convinced that, if Mike were here and could look back at what happened in his life those final moments, he'd change nothing. He'd still join the GA NATL Guard as a junior in high school, go to boot camp that summer while his fellow classmates had fun and then come back for his senior year of high school.
He'd still move from a Communications job to a front line Cavalry Scout unit. He'd still go with his "guys" to Iraq even though he could have had an exemption to stay home and recruit.
He'd still take that empty seat on a Humvee as it was about to go out the wire the night he died, even though it was his squad going and he'd been on missions and duty for 30 hours, and had rested little in the last three days (since a soldier was home on leave).
He'd still volunteer to stand cover flank watching the backs of his two fellow soldiers - one his best friend - as they walked down the road to check out a suspicious location.”
David asked Mr. Stokely what Mike might think about all the attention he has gotten.
“No doubt Mike would be overwhelmed by those who speak so highly of him - probably say ‘what's the big deal?’”
What Mike might think of being no big deal is a big deal, for Mike and men and women like him embody the soul of what it is to be an American Soldier.
We think it's a big deal, too.